Blago jury’s direction hard to read

2010-08-12T06:00:00Z Blago jury’s direction hard to readBY CODELL RODRIGUEZ THE SOUTHERN The Southern
August 12, 2010 6:00 am  • 

Local law experts are on the fence on what the 11-day jury deliberation in the case against former governor Rod Blagojevich.

The jury finally showed a bit of its thinking Wednesday jurors sent a note to the judge indicating they cannot resolve some counts and asked how they should logically proceed.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel said he would ask for a clarification today, but his reply to the jury would also include information that it is OK for the jury to decide some, but not all, counts.

Lucian Dervan, assistant professor in the SIU School of Law, said the length of time the jury has been out does not point to its favoring one side more than the other.

He said judges typically encourage the jury to continue deliberating and remind them of their obligation. If the jury still cannot come to decision on some counts, it could be considered a hung jury concerning those counts.

Christopher Behan, assistant professor in the SIU School of Law, longer jury deliberations in criminal trials usually tend to favor the defendant.

"I think it's a pretty good sign for Blagojevich that it's heading to a mistrial or an acquittal," Behan said.

Behan admitted the trial has been fascinating. He said not letting Blagojevich testify was probably a good choice, especially if his defense team thought he would come apart in cross examination.

While he has not been a part of such a high-profile case, Behan said waiting for the jury is one of the worst parts of a trial.

"Every minute the jury's out is absolutely agonizing," Behan said.

codell.rodriguez@thesouthern.com

618-351-5804

 

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